Show courage

Celebrate Eid with austerity. Every Eid, this message would be dutifully mailed to newspapers by the pro-freedom camp. Several prominent resistance leaders have once again requested the people to eschew any activity that would appear out of sync with what they have gone through during the past 26 years. The financial crunch forced by New Delhi’s stinginess and exacerbated by the pathetic meekness exhibited by the PDP hardly leaves any scope for lavishness. The killing of three-year-old Burhan and his father, ‘mysterious’ killing of militants and sympathizers and state repression are other factors that make this Eid gloomy. A belligerent BJP riding on the back of a supine PDP will make it difficult for people to carry out their religious obligations given the dangerous turn the issue of bovine slaughter is taking. A few traders carrying bovines have been arrested in Jammu and Srinagar. To cap it all, a besieged people would be treated to a ban on the Internet and broadband services. By and large, a gloomy Eid has been recurring motif of the past quarter of a century. People have moved on with remarkable resilience. Despite horrible injustice and brutalities meted out to them by the state, and despite grave provocations by communal forces, the majority community has exhibited exemplary tolerance towards and respect for other faiths. If in return, a Muslim will be arrested only because he is ferrying a bovine animal for slaughter, a religious obligation, the state is only adding one more dimension to the decades of political enslavement. We are witnessing an entrenchment of this political enslavement, PDP’s rhetoric notwithstanding. When deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh announces that the last Dogra autocrat, Hari Singh, whom the Muslims of the state remember as an heir to one of the most brutal regimes they have encountered, will continue to “remain a role model for generations to come”, he is only reminding the dissenting majority who the master is. The beef ban issue should be an eye opener for Kashmir-based pro-India parties. Like the Dogra rulers, the state does not view them differently in the bigger scheme of things. If the National Conference is only trying to score a few points by introducing a bill seeking abrogation of the Dogra-era law in the assembly, PDP should support it, only if to call its bluff. The state’s political history is replete with examples about how even its curtailed sovereignty was nibbled away because Kashmiri rulers lacked the courage to say no. Silence would mean that Hari Singh is your role model.